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Lolli’s Happy Heart Rhymes

Hi There!

Lolli’s Happy Heart Rhymes 3 book series has been released this week on Amazon. Here are the links:

They are picture books written for kids aged 4-9 years old. They get kids thinking about every day life, resilience, emotions and making great choices. And as a result of hard work and sweat, each poem actually rhymes! So they really are RHYMES! They are also available in paperback and so far the libraries they are stocked in are reporting to me that kids love to borrow them and not return them!! Even my own kids who are now 10 and 12 read them when they’ve had a hard day at school. Plus, remember you get the e-book version free when you purchase the paperback from Amazon.

Thanks so much for you support so far, and keep reading, learning, and growing with your kids!

Love Elena

What Parents Need To Know About ANTS


Child Anxiety and The Effect of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS)

Automatic negative thoughts often cause child anxiety, and the effects it can have can be devastating, leading to problems even as they reach adulthood.  It is known that many children who are affected by ANTS live in a negative world; while it may not seem that a child will pick up on negative feelings or situations in their surroundings, they often do and it affects their lives more than most of us realize.

How ANTS Affects Child Anxiety

Children who suffer from Automatic Negative Thoughts are often filled with fear, worry, and a drive to be perfect.  They often feel uncomfortable around other children and act awkwardly because they feel like they have so many things to worry about.  “Why can’t I just be happy and carefree like the other kids?” is a thought that may often enter their mind.

A child that suffers from ANTS may also tend to be selfish, expecting to get what they want.  They tend to think of themselves more than other people and are disappointed when things do not go their way.  Instead of thinking about how things really are, these children often have thoughts that are formed by how they are feeling at any given moment, which can lead to feelings that are up and down much like a yo-yo.

Physical symptoms also often manifest with child anxiety caused by ANTS.  When a child is anxious on their first day of school or fears they may be embarrassed in a given situation, they often develop a racing heart or feel lightheaded; they may also have thoughts that seem to race.  While they often don’t know what caused these physical symptoms to begin with, it then becomes these symptoms themselves that cause the child to become even more anxious, giving them something else to become frightened or worried about.

ANTS in Children Can Lead to Problems in Adulthood

Child anxiety almost always stems from the attitude and habitual thought patterns of the child.  If not addressed at an early age, Automatic Negative Thoughts and the anxiety caused by it will almost certainly affect the child throughout their lives, from the teen years on through adulthood.

As an adult who never addressed the issue of their anxiety in younger years, adults may experience frequent depression, anxiety, worry, and in general, a feeling that they just aren’t like everyone else.  This can affect relationships, employment, and social interaction – really every aspect of life.  A feeling of loneliness is also common in those adults affected by lasting child anxiety.

During the teen years, ANTS can be truly devastating as the ongoing anxiety interferes with learning, coping, and relationships.  While some anxiety is a normal part of childhood, disorders such as ANTS have a lasting and negative impact if not addressed earlier on.  The feelings of insecurity, constant worry, and fear can lead to panic attacks, causing children and teens to miss out on important social experiences.  It can also lead to alcohol or substance abuse, particularly in the teen years when the pressure from peers can be overwhelming.

Eating disorders are also a common result in teens; we have all seen stories in the media in recent years about the seriousness of anorexia and bulimia, and the potentially deadly results of these eating disorders.

Addressing the Problem of Child Anxiety

Unfortunately, the tendency today to stop or calm anxiety in children is through the use of prescription drugs, but this approach actually only masks the symptoms.  In order for children to lead happy, healthy lives free from fear and anxiety on through their teen years and into adulthood, it is essential that the underlying issues be addressed.

While many so-called professionals take a “logical” approach to child anxiety, it is essential that your child not only learns to cope with their fears and anxiety, but that they get rid of it.  Through learning the skills necessary to eliminate the fear and anxiety, a child can develop normal thought processes so that they no longer experience the racing and negative thoughts that cause them to become anxious.  When children learn that many of the worries and fears that have been so real to them for so long are really nothing to worry about, they can move forward to eliminating those thoughts that cause all of those mental and physical symptoms of child anxiety.

There is no “magic cure” or pill that will get rid of the worrying thoughts and fears that plague your child’s life, but children can learn how to overcome the things that steal their joy and peace of mind with a little help from parents.  It is important for a parent to understand what is happening to their child and to determine what may have caused their anxious thoughts and feelings.

Children often experience the physical symptoms of anxiety and never tie that racing heart or nervous feeling to a bothersome thought they had.  They don’t “connect” the thought with the physical result, so it is essential that they be taught how to deal with these thoughts; in doing so, the physical symptoms of child anxiety will also disappear.

Automatic Negative Thoughts is a condition that can be overcome so that a child who experiences worry, fear, and anxiousness can move toward a happy life filled with healthy, happy, and productive thoughts.  This gives them a strong basis and helps them move down a more positive path in life, resulting in a fulfilled and happier life as a teen and adult.

Anger Rules Me


It’s a hard, difficult to digest realisation: Anger Rules Me!

Most of the time I live in complete denial of this. I appear pretty calm, seem in control, act towards others with fairness and interest. Me angry? No way!

Yet every time I go to the Chinese Medicine Doctor he says “bad liver, too much anger”. “Seriously?” I ask. Do you know all the spiritual practises I engage in, the foods I eat, herbs and supplements I ingest designed specifically to clear the liver, the exercise I do and the emotional effort I give to stay calm and happy no matter how angry I really am?

Ah ha, I muse, there it is: how calm and happy I work to be even though I’m really angry. I suddenly realise I am a really angry person!  I’m angry at myself probably a million times a day – for being too fat, ugly, sickly, unlikeable, selfish, disorganised, scattered, uncommitted, and plain old angry.

Deep down, I’m angry at the cat for getting white fur all over the backyard and having to clean it up even though I can’t be bothered. I’m angry at my kids for loving their iPads more than me! I’m angry at my husband for thinking the world revolves around money, and angry at my parents for sucking as parents (don’t they, or we, all?). Oh and did I mention I’m angry at myself for sucking as a parent, a friend, partner, housewife, businesswoman, person, basically sucking at everything!!

What to do? Well we all will cycle back through anger time and time again I come to realise, just as we will cycle through everything else including judgment, worry and even excitement. According to Chinese Medicine we’re meant to cycle through each emotion and not stay in any one emotion too much or for too long.

So I stare today’s anger in the face and do the only sensible thing I can do- I LAUGH AT IT! I don’t take it seriously. I don’t take it on. I see it for what it is: a house built on a foundation of victim thinking, of false accusations and negative emotions that aren’t even real. I recognise that I choose anger to give me power, to deepen my drama, to give me an out. Anger is like my best friend and my greatest enemy. So I laugh at it! I stop taking it seriously and I recognise it has no real power to change a thing, but instead keeps me stuck in a horrible cycle of self denial and blame. I laugh at it and let it be. I don’t try to convince it of anything. I don’t get more angry at the anger itself fuelling it, and I don’t try to psychoanalyse it. I laugh at it! That’s all.

My son, who is often highly strung and angry (gee I wonder where he gets that from!) is like a different child this year.

I ask him “Do you think this is because of your teacher this year?”

He replies instantly and innocently “No, its because of you. You’re not angry at me anymore.”

And there it is. One sentence. One simple truth.

I laugh in response. “Me angry?” I joke. “Never!”

We laugh together, melting away 10 long years of anger shared together. In that instant all anger is forgotten.

Us angry ever? Never! Just laughing, light hearted friends!


Hi Kids!

Here is a short story I wrote about going back to school! I hope you have fun reading it!

Rumple’s First Day of School

Rumple hated school. He was always teased for having a name that sounded like a fairy tale character. You guessed it: Rumpelstiltskin! Last year’s teacher always called him Rump! Can you imagine? He could never seem to concentrate in class. All he ever heard was the teacher yelling all the time. And at playtime he had no one to play with so he would hang out in the boys toilet cubicle where he couldn’t be seen or found. Well mostly!

Today was his first day of school for the year. Grade 6! His mother kept telling him he was a big boy now, whatever that meant. He didn’t feel any different than he did last year.

He put on his school uniform, which he hated. That neck tie made him feel like he was being strangled all the time.

His Mum dropped him at school. He didn’t even bother to look up at the school building as he slumped his way toward it.

“Hi Rumple!”

“Hi Rumple”

“Hi Rumple”

Did three different people just say that to me? thought Rumple.

He looked up for the first time. He stopped walking. Did Mum drop me at the wrong school? Why is everyone dressed normal? And why are they all smiling at me and waving and saying Hi? Is this some sort of a joke? His thoughts were racing.

He walked into the building and headed for his classroom. The kids he knew from last year were all saying ‘hi’ to him as he walked. He wondered if they were teasing him because he was in school uniform and they weren’t?

Is it casual day today?

Hold on a minute, he thought.

Even the classroom looks different. It was all interesting looking. There were science things all laid about the room. There was a pet hamster in the corner in a cage. There were posters up everywhere. And there was a little library of books in the corner, with a reading mat and comfy chairs.

Has the room grown bigger, he thought. Now he was seriously starting to worry he was at the wrong school. For real!

But there was no more time to think, because suddenly the bell rang and in came everybody else, including the teacher Mrs Hankerman. He had her for a day at the end of last year during Step Up Day, when everyone got to meet their new teacher and he didn’t think much of her. She yelled more than last years teacher and kept calling him Rumel instead of Rumple!

Rumpel was getting ready to start daydreaming, like he always did when the teacher started to talk, or more likely yell!

“Hello students. Pop your things in your pigeon holes and pick a desk. Your choice for the whole year, unless you want to change of course. We’re going to start the school year with some fun science experiments this morning.”

Oh, I’m definitely dreaming! thought Rumple. Did he hear right? And who was that talking? That wasn’t his teachers voice. He looked up suddenly interested. It was definitely Mrs Hankerman speaking, but she looked different. She looked younger somehow. She always frowned but today she looked all cheery.

The whole day continued like this. Everyone was nice, school was fun, the teachers all friendly and at lunchtime, Robbie and Jess both wanted to play with Rumple. No one called Rumple names, no one teased him and by the end of the day, he had forgotten school wasn’t normally like this.

When Rumple went home that night he didn’t tell his mum or dad anything about school that day. There’s no way anyone will believe me anyway, he thought.

On the second day of school Rumple jumped out of bed early! He was excited to get to school. Mrs Hankerman had promised a whole day of art and this was his favourite subject. He looked for his school uniform that he had thrown at the foot of his bed, but couldn’t find it there. That’s weird, he thought. Oh well, no one else was wearing a uniform yesterday so why should I?

“What’s come over you?”asked mum when Rumple announced he didn’t want a lift and would simply run to school.

He was a little worried as he turned the corner into his school’s street, in case it really had all been a dream. It was quite possible, he thought.

Nope. He hadn’t dreamt it. School on the second day was even better than the first. The teacher gave them all lamingtons for morning tea as a surprise. At lunchtime, Robbie and Jess as well as Stewart and Ted all wanted to play with Rumple. They played marble’s (which was suddenly allowed even though they had been banned last year) and chase and down ball. RUMPLE LOVED SCHOOL. He had almost forgotten that this wasn’t normal and something weird was going on.

After school Rumple was walking home with a smile on his face. He was day dreaming about what cool fun stuff they would do at school tomorrow. He turned the corner without realising he had walked right into…. Hank! The school bully! But Rumple wasn’t worried, because even Hank had been so nice to him the last couple of days.

“Hi Hank!” said Rumple.

“Just who I was looking for, you little shit!” said Hank.

“What?” said Rumple in shock. This isn’t the nice Hank. This is the normal Hank, he thought!

Hank grabbed Rumple by his top and threw him to the ground. Rumple grazed his hands from the hard landing. He didn’t know what to do or what to say. He was shocked.

“I’m sick of pretending to be nice to you Rump Head! Your little Mummy paid us all to change this school just for you, and now this school sucks! I hate this school and its all because of you! I’m going to kill you!” He yelled as he took a low swing to punch Rumple.

Rumple’s head was spinning, but he managed to pick himself up and run. He ran. He ran so fast.

What? Mum paid everyone? Mum did this? Mum did this! Mum? What? Rumble’s head was spinning. Mum? How could she do this?

Rumple’s Mum was the local Mayor.

Rumple ran home faster than he’d ever run before. He ran straight into his Mum’s office at home. There she was on the phone. Rumple grabbed the phone from her and threw it into her waste paper bin.

“Rumple! What did you do that for?” the look on her face suddenly changed from angry to shocked. “You know don’t you?” she said.

“Is it true? Did you pay everyone to be stupidly nice at school? I mean EVERYONE? Seriously. You’re unbelievable!” He was so mad he didn’t know what to say to her.

“Rumple!” she pleaded. “I was only trying to help. You were so miserable and look how happy you were yesterday? It clearly worked. There’s nothing wrong with a little money motivation to get people happy, is there? I’m sure lots of other kids suddenly loved school too!”

“Mum, you can’t just buy whatever you want in life with money!” yelled Rumple.

“Well I don’t see why not” she said.

“I want you to turn it back to how it was!”

“But you hated school hon! You love it now. What’s the harm in leaving it the way it is. You’re clearly much happier.” She stood up and tried to hit Rumple. He pulled away.

“Mum! Turn it back!” He reached into the waste paper basket and handed her the mobile phone.”Call whoever you need to and fix this!” He stormed out, ran upstairs to his bedroom and refused to come back down even for dinner.

The next day Rumple got up and got dressed in casual clothes ready for school. He walked. He was still super mad at his Mum for what she had done. He hadn’t said a word to her all morning. When he got to school he noticed that everyone was wearing their school uniforms. Everyone except for him. “Hi ya Rumple Dumple!” yelled some random kid.

“Mr Scott. Late I see and decided to come in casual clothes for some reason today did you?” It was Mrs Barry the school Principal. “To my office immediately young man”.

On the way to the principals office he walked past his class. There were no posters, no hamster and Mrs Hankerman was yelling. Thank goodness everything is back to normal, he thought. Well almost everything! One thing had changed.  Hank, the school bully was super nice to Rumple from that day on. Hank was so glad Rumple changed the school back to normal that he became Rumple’s friend. He was impressed that Rumple had changed the school back rather than taking the easy option. Eventually everyone stopped teasing Rumple because Hank threatened to thump them if they didn’t.

Rumple was happy. School sucked. And he preferred it that way!